WASHINGTON — Army officials say they will not back away from participating in a Capitol Hill prayer event next month despite complaints that the event amounts to an endorsement of evangelical Christians.
Last week, officials from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation demanded the Pentagon withdraw all support from a May 1 National Day of Prayer celebration at the Cannon House Office Building here, calling it a “private fundamentalist Christian religious event.”
At issue is the group behind the three-hour event, which has close ties to evangelical Christian groups. Planners have said they are nondenominational and nonpartisan, but foundation leaders say support for the event amounts to favoritism for conservative Christians.
Army officials disagree. In a statement, service officials said they would continue to provide numerous personnel for the event, including a chaplain to offer a “prayer for the military,” an armed forces color guard, a brass quartet and a vocalist for the national anthem.
They also said they had no formal response to the foundation’s complaint.